THE UK Government has been accused of “cynically politicising” the Post Office Horizon scandal by excluding Scotland from legislation which will exonerate wrongfully convicted sub-postmasters.

MPs are set to consider the Post Office (Horizon Systems) Offences Bill in the House of Commons on Monday but the legislation has been mired in controversy after the UK Government opted to incorporate Northern Ireland into its scope and not Scotland.

Both Scotland and Northern Ireland were originally excluded from the bill but Post Office Minister Kevin Hollinrake claimed last week the recently restored administration in Northern Ireland faced "significant and unique challenges".

He maintained it was "more appropriate" for separate Scottish legislation to be introduced but the Scottish Government has argued including Scotland in the bill would be the fastest way to secure parity.

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Justice Secretary Angela Constance said said that she “fully supports” the extension of the bill to Northern Ireland but added that it is “outrageous that the UK Government has declined to also include Scotland”.

Leading campaigner and SNP MP Marion Fellows has now written to Hollinrake urging him to rethink abandoning a four nations approach, without which exoneration and financial redress for sub-postmasters in Scotland “could be significantly delayed”.

The SNP has tabled amendments which, if voted on and passed on Monday, would extend the bill to Scotland.

Fellows said: “By refusing to adopt a four nations approach, the UK Government is cynically politicising an issue on which we should all be united in our efforts to secure exoneration and full financial redress for victims of this scandal.

“Their U-turn on the inclusion of Northern Ireland to the bill shows they can include Scotland but are simply choosing not to. They should back our amendments that would change this.

“The Horizon scandal is one of the greatest miscarriages of justice in our time - and the responsibility to fix this injustice falls squarely at the door of Westminster.

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“Thousands of lives were ruined over decades, with people still suffering as a result of this mess, in a scandal Westminster bears partial responsibility for creating. It’s outrageous they would even consider imposing a delay only on postmasters convicted in Scotland.

“Already, far too many people have died without ever receiving the exoneration and financial redress they were due. We owe it to them and to everyone else affected by this horrible affair to deliver justice now.”

Fellows outlined in her letter that the decision means the exoneration of Scottish sub-postmasters will be delayed until the bill is enacted in the rest of the UK.

She said it would be "reckless" for the Scottish Government to legislate without having full sight of the final UK bill.

First Minister Humza Yousaf  said he was “utterly furious” with the decision by the UK Government adding: “It is hard to think that the UK Government are doing anything other than using our Scottish sub-postmasters and mistresses as a political pawn.”

Around 100 Post Office sub-postmasters in Scotland were among those convicted after being wrongly accused of embezzling money.